Better nutrition meant money on animal health
Stony Brook Farms
Amsterdam, New York
Dairy Focus Consultant: Ed Varnam and Gary Moore
- High-producing, 500-cow dairy in Eastern New York
- Aggressive age at first calving goals of 21-22 months
- Calves raised in groups on automated feeders
“Do you believe you can over-vaccinate calves?” That was the question with which New York dairyman Paul Bargstedt greeted Calf & Heifer Specialist Gary Moore on his first visit. Bargstedt owns Stony Brook Farms with his wife, Ellen, where they milk 525 cows and farm 1250 acres of cropland. He and his Herd Manager, Steven Szczepanik, had grown frustrated with the frequent cases of pneumonia plaguing the pre-weaned calves. The two had made a variety of changes to the vaccination protocol and also used antibiotics for control of respiratory disease without any major improvement.
After investigating the challenges on the dairy, Gary presented a recommendation that focused on better colostrum management, longer pen sanitation times, and the introduction of HerdFirst calf nutrition. All colostrum handling was reviewed with employees and Cargill Colostrum Enhancer was added to first three feedings to each calf to provide additional immunoglobulins and boost the immune system.
Gary also recommended HerdFirst® Early Calf 22.5:20 milk replacer, a product specially designed for the critical first few weeks of a calf’s life. It contains Celmanax™, Diamond V’s SmartCare® technology, and blood plasma to support enteric and overall health. HerdFirst® Total Calf is used for grain. Lastly, Gary encouraged the farm staff to let the pen dry down for at least a week between groups of calves on the auto feeder.
The changes have a made a big impact at Stony Brook Farms over the past nine months, as scours and respiratory issues have declined greatly. Where they used to treat all calves, now just one is treated once in a while. A two-dose antibiotic treatment at seven and 14 days of life has been removed, and calves are getting off to the start they need to reach the herd’s aggressive 'age at first calving' goals.